While the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s wellbeing, many children, in particular, have suffered from the effects of isolation and stress induced by Covid-19. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, emergency departments across the US have witnessed a proportional rise in children showing up in the midst of a mental health crisis.
Now, as many kids return back into another pandemic school year, the current US administration has announced nearly $85 million in funding for mental health awareness, training, and treatment — all aimed at improving children’s mental health.
As reported by NPR, the funding includes $10.7 million for the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program, which trains primary care providers to treat and refer kids for mental health issues. In addition to that, $74.2 million will be distributed from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to raise awareness about youth mental health issues and improve the abilities of school personnel to coordinate treatment for young people with emotional disorders.
“We know what’s coming,” said Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services Secretary. “The wave of stress, the mental strain, the disorientation and disassociation that so many of our children are feeling today — they’re going to need help, and not just from their parents and their loved ones, they’re going to need any help from us all.”
The program also includes supporting AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), a project dedicated to helping state and local governments raise awareness about mental health issues among children in schools and to train school staff to detect mental health issues from early on and provide support to those who need it.
With pediatricians and child psychologists reporting an increasing number of children with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders over the past year, the new funding is a key step towards addressing these issues and helping the young get the necessary type of support.